Jan 26 2010

Rodent Roulette

Published by at 7:09 am under Mammals

Gray squirrel (photo by Chuck Tague)
Sometimes I complain about the squirrels at my feeder and sometimes I marvel at them, but I never thought about how many there are until I heard this story last weekend.

Recently the woman who lives three doors down was on her front porch when a man drove up in a pickup truck and parked across from her house.  He then unloaded cage after cage of squirrels and proceeded to let them go at the edge of the city ballpark across our street.  In the midst of this activity he noticed her, quickly gathered his empty cages, jumped into his truck and drove away.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard of rodent relocation.

A co-worker who lives in the city once discovered a large family of groundhogs eating her garden.  She couldn’t bear to kill them so she captured them, one after the other, in a Have-a-Heart trap.  Each time she caught a groundhog her husband put the cage in the back of his truck and drove away.  At first she didn’t want to know where he took them but after the second or third trip she asked him what happened to the groundhog.  Her husband answered, “He’s living in the suburbs now.”

Like balls on the roulette wheel the unwanted rodents go for a spin.
“Round and round the roulette goes
Where it stops, nobody knows.”

Maybe “nobody knows,” but I’m pretty sure I have someone else’s squirrels at my feeder.

(photo by Chuck Tague)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Rodent Roulette”

  1. City Residenton 26 Jan 2010 at 12:01 pm

    We’re on the Northside, and the squirrels are now seriously competing with the deer for the birdseed. (watching a deer slurp birdseed out of a squirrel-proof feeder can be demoralizing) However, our squirrels are pretty recognizable, and over the years we’ve watched the generations change over to the youngsters, who grow up, and take over.

    We can tell that they’re “our squirrels” and the pecking order among them is quite obvious. Only one of the recent generation has figured out the trick for hanging off the top of the squirrel proof feeder by a toenail, now that they’re large enough to reach.

    The youngsters are on their 2nd winter, and by the time snow fell, they finally learned that when the crows screamed about an approaching hawk, that they (the squirrels) could safely ignore the caws.

  2. Margeon 26 Jan 2010 at 11:09 pm

    I’ve been fortunate (well, almost) enough not to have that many squirrels at my feeders (lots of deer tho’) but I really think those critters have “displaced” the little Barred Owl at Crooked Creek. Two people sent me photos of the owl a month ago but noone (including me) has seen it lately. I was there for 6 hours on a warm day last week and I walked around all the trails and inbetween my walks I would drive back to the road the owl’s tree is (where he roosted last year visibly for almost 3 months!) and watch for 10-15 minutes and see if he would appear. He can sit pretty far down inside his little home (crevice) but that day I saw 4 squirrels running up and down that tree and the one beside it. They were flicking their tales, chattering/ screaming at each other and 2 were obviously ready to fight to the death. Those 2 were also taking turns going in and out of the owl’s crevice, so…wonder where he went? Park rangers and everyone else is watching & waiting.

  3. Kristenon 30 Jan 2010 at 9:30 pm

    We had a major chipmunk issue when I was growing up. They were burrowing behind our retaining wall and threatening to make it collapse. I refused to let my dad poison them, so my job was to trap and relocate. I drove them far away–out to a huge nature preserve/park about 30 minutes from our home. I always hoped they’d manage to forge new lives away from my dad’s wrath, but I felt quite guilty about ripping them from their homes.

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